Allah Almighty offered “Trust” for being independent to mankind, and ignorantly and arrogantly they accepted their independence for doing what they want. The purpose of this article is to explore being independent and determining our choices freely. Before being conceived and prior to my parent's marriage, Allah purposely planned my creation, my birth, my death, and granted me the privilege of making my choices. My choices are mine, and I am responsible for my good deed as well as my evil deed.
Purpose and Choices
Though I can legally make my decisions, I am here, I am alive, I can drive my car, yet I was not consulted to be conceived, nor born. Additionally, I did not select my parents either. I am only a very small part of the universe. Yet, sometimes with my egotism and total ignorance, I think I can alter an involuntary social habit, or perhaps even influence other people. The purpose of this article is to share with you my thoughts about being born, live, enjoy what I have, and indicate my human limitations. “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless” Bertrand Russell, Atheist. (1) Allah determined my purpose in life and allowed me to make my choices freely.
To discover my purpose in life, I need to find the reason for living and why I was conceived and born. Not only at the beginning of the human race Allah created Adam from dust without consulting him, but also without any consultation with any of Allah’s creations, He ordered the angels to bow to Adam. Allah said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth… bow for Adam." (2) Allah did not consult either Adam or Eve for their creation, and Allah created them regardless of their opinions. Despite the angels’ question of the reason for creating Adam and Eve, Allah said: "I know that which you do not know." (2), Allah created Adam and Eve for one purpose, and that is “they might worship HIM.” (3)
Purpose and Choices
As Allah chose the creation of Adam and Eve, Allah Almighty selected my parents to bring me to life. I had no choice for selecting my parents, and I did not select my place of birth or gender. My parents tried very hard to educate me and send me to the best school they could afford. However, with all of their sincere efforts, I would not learn unless I studied and succeeded passing many exams. I had to study and read to improve my understanding and my standard of living. Allah declared that reading is the proper way for education and improving my standard of living. According to the Quran, Allah’s first command was “Read.” (4) After earning my Ph.D. and succeeding in numerous examinations, I discovered to understand a subject thoroughly, I must read reputable literature and I must convert my understanding into a written document. Continuous reading and writing improved my academic standing and contribution. A rather naïve person would think that Allah will change his condition without his contribution. Allah will not “change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves.” (5) Generously, Allah gave me two choices, and I needed to choose one of them. Regarding annulling my fault justifications of wrong doings, the Quran stated “shown him the two ways (good and evil).” (6), and Allah made me responsible for my choices and actions.
It is frivolous thinking to plant tomatoes, and expect harvesting a cucumber crop. You reap what you sow. We are responsible for our choices and actions, and the Holy Quran states: “We have fastened every man′s deed to his neck.” (7).
Your environment and the political condition of your resident country will have a direct impact on your choices and your role in life. Your options are controlled by the capabilities that Allah granted you that include physical, mental, and emotional capacities “have WE not made for him a pair of eyes? And a tongue and a pair of lips?” (8) Unfortunately, some people think that they are self-made; and they live their entire lives under their false impression. Understanding that Allah Almighty determined your life purpose will have a direct impact on your choices and contributions. A simple way to think about the association of your purpose in life and performance is to think about a plan and its execution.
You might contemplate that if your purpose in life is in the hands of Allah, then you should not be responsible for your actions. Furthermore, you may think that you are nothing but a robot! No, you are not a robot, and you have full control over your choices and actions. You are thinking about Allah through your human mental capacities, and you cannot imagine Allah’s power. For example, time with Allah does not exist! Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are present regarding Allah’s power. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) indicated that Allah created angels from light and they can travel for fifty thousand years. (9) If you can comprehend traveling for fifty thousand years (the distance is close to 50,000 x 365 x 24 x 60 x 60 x 299,792,458 meters *), then you could grasp an eclipse of the power of Allah. (10) We need to be cognizant and recognize that our social developed theories and rules do not apply to Allah. When you travel from Los Angeles to New York, upon your arrival, you would feel exhausted. How about traveling for 50,000 x 365 x 24 x 60 x 60 x 299,792,458 meters? Allah created time for human beings, according to the Holy Quran "It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light that you might know the number of years and the count (of time)." (11) The duration of time, yesterday, today and tomorrow do not exist when we use reference to Allah Almighty.
* The speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second
Though Bertrand Russell yearned for discovering who created God, yet Russell (1) failed to recognize the human's insignificant limited capacity with Allah’s omnipotent resources. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) declared that a person's mental capacity and imagination are not equipped to “think about Allah because he will destroy himself.” (12) If you can travel for the distance of 50,000 x 365 x 24 x 60 x 60 x 299,792,458 meters (10), then you could comprehend an eclipse of the power of Allah. The Quran declared that “Allah is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him), the highest (nothing is above Him) and the nearest (nothing is nearer than Him). And, He is the All-Knower of everything.” (13) Allah is infinity. Graciously, Allah granted some Muslims the wisdom of focusing on the current, accurate condition instead of nostalgia of traditional Muslim achievements of the past glory. Theses wise Muslims are equipped with critical contemplating knowledge, they do not focus only on the past magnificent achievements, but they look at a brighter future without fear. Fear is self-defeating and self-imposed punishment.
Your challenges, problems, solutions, success, failure, victory, defeat, health, sickness, birth, and death are testing examples. The severity of a test is based on your strength. According to the Holy Quran, “no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.) (14) Allah tested Prophet Abraham who dreamed of slaughtering his son: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you.” (15) Another example of testing was narrated by the late Dr. Hassan Hathout who was a medical doctor and Muslim scholar-practitioner in Los Angeles, California. He shared his reaction when he received the dreadful news of the death of his daughter. While he was working in Kuwait, upon receiving a telegraph of his daughter’s death, he responded: “I accept the test.” The reaction of the late Dr. Hassan Hathout illustrated the deepest level of faith and unshakable obedience and trust in Allah. He surrendered to Allah’s decision without objection. The death of his daughter was painful and disconcerting, Dr. Hathout disclosed his feeling of unmanageable pain and yet trust in Allah. His reaction was a profound statement of his faith in Allah the Almighty. Testing and praying are a perpetual series of actions we perform. The Holy Quran stated, "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life, and my death are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds.) (16) Your intent from all of your activities is creating a constant dialog between you and Allah without fear but for being fully aware of the presence of HIM. It is impossible to constantly break Allah’s rules and expect to be close to HIM. Prophet Yusuf was tested and sent to jail for many years for a crime he did not commit. The king of Egypt proved that Yusuf was innocent. The King said, (to the woman): "What was your affair when you did seek to seduce Yusuf?" The woman said, "Allah forbid! No evil knows against him!" (17) You and I will be tested, and sometimes we pass a test, another time we may find excuses for our failures. The Holy Quran was clear for stating that every person is tested “And certainly, we shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones. etc.)” (18) However, we are very creative in finding excuses for our failures, and the Holy Quran stated “Though he may put forth his excuses (to cover his evil deeds).” (19)
Allah ascertained in advance our purpose before we were born, and Allah created Mankind for one purpose, and that is “worship HIM.” (3) Though we have choices to make and we can ignore our friends and family members, yet as Muslims, isolation is not an option. For testing, you need to establish relationships with other people to illustrate your feelings of being a Muslim. Of course, you can have a dog or a cat and be very kind to them, but your animals will not deceive you nor steal your wealth. To be tested, we need to have relationships with other people - Muslims, Christians, Jews – and endure the pain of the interactions. We have choices. We can censor our relationships with others or we can do our best according to Allah’s rules.
You can double your net wealth, but you cannot increase your time on earth. For improving our relationship with Allah, we can get into the habit of getting up and pray Fajr prayer, for showing our gratitude, for being alive and thankful to Allah. If getting up at 5:30 am is too difficult for you, just pray before you leave your home. Praying daily Fajr is a developed habit. The late, Dr. Maher Hathout ,who was a medical doctor and Muslim scholar-practitioner in Los Angeles, California, stated that praying is a habit. Today is the best time to think about tomorrow, and tomorrow may be the last day for us on earth. We have no guarantee that we will be here tomorrow. We need to ask Allah for guidance “Guide us to the Straight Way” (20) that we may be ready for the day of judgment where nothing but good deed will help us “The Day whereon neither wealth nor children will be available.” (21) We cannot be successful during our life on earth and the hereafter without Allah’s approval. Finally, with complete confidence, I can declare that you and I did not exist on March 25, 1839, and both of us will be gone before March 25, 2139. The Holy Quran stated, “Everything (that exists) will perish except HIS Face.” (22)
- Greenleaf, R. (2010). Leading for the right reasons. The Ultimate Leader.
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- Sura 28, Verse 88, the Holy Quran
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